Thursday, November 20, 2014

One uppers

I've never really understood the desire within people to "one up" others. I do it myself even. It all starts when we are kids, "My daddy is stronger than your daddy!" Then as we get older we reverse it. We try to one up who has it harder in life. "I'm so tired from all this homework." "Oh yeah? Try getting sleep with a newborn baby!"

This is so silly. And I'm convicted because I say or think these things all. the. time.

I've seen articles SO MUCH lately posted on facebook about things like, "What NOT to say to a ___." Fill in that blank with pregnant woman, foster mom, mom with special needs child, stay at home mom, working mom, etc.

I believe that these articles were originally intended to be helpful and informative. And they are! I want to know how I can be more sensitive to others. But I fear that the people who write them and post them might have motives that are wanting to "one up" others. It's like we post these articles with the intention of rubbing it in other peoples faces that we live a life that they will NEVER understand.

What is the point in that kind of attitude? It fosters bitterness against people who did nothing to you and pushes away people who may WANT to understand.

I could tell you all kinds of struggles about being a working mom, being a ministers wife, being a foster mom, growing up with a special needs sibling, losing a sibling... And I think you can learn from my life experiences. I LOVE to share what God has done and is doing through those life situations with those that haven't lived what I have lived.

BUT I also LOVE to learn from OTHER peoples testimonies who have lived through things I can't imagine ever living through.

I think God would be way more honored if we invited people to go through our specific life journeys with us instead of pushing them away. He'd be more honored if we didn't get ticked off that "people just don't understand." He'd be more honored if we took the focus off ourselves and back on to Jesus Christ. He'd be more honored if we chose to ask other people to share their story instead of only thinking about our own.

Most importantly, I fear that "one uppers" have made their life situations their badge...their identity. Your identity lies in what Jesus did for you on the cross. Not what you have endured. My life and what I've been through belongs to God. Not me.

This is not a competition, people. God created us to have community with eachother and that can't happen with a bunch of one uppers. Let's "rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn." (Romans 12:15)

Friday, March 14, 2014

Anxiety anchors me

I've struggled with anxiety for a while now. Its always been a quiet companion my whole life, but festered into more of a friend than I would like it to be in my 30s now.

I've talked with people who have anxiety about different things. Many have generalized anxiety or only have anxiety when in public places or around large groups of people. I (believe) that I have panic attacks. Specifically related to car phobia and "What if" freak accident scenarios that I involuntarily play through my head. I feel threatened and therefore lose all sense of reality in a feeble effort to defend myself.

Driving in Dallas is torture for me. I literally feel like I'm about to die or get in a wreck at all times. My heart races, I get cold and shivery, and I cry. My husband is awesome. He has learned over the years to just let me cry and not say anything, and I have (most of the time) learned to not scream out to avoid a REAL wreck from startling him. He holds my hand, I cry, and he reminds me that I am still alive.

The "what if" scenarios that play through my brain can be quite paralyzing as well. I have to be very careful to not watch certain shows or look up certain things online about tragic accidents. Rescue 911 and Unsolved Mysteries were shows that gave me sleepless nights as a child. I also just try to steer clear from the news and certain links to these types of things on facebook. I imagine myself or my family in those stories in such a realistic way in my brain that I forget that its NOT real. One thought sparks another thought until anxiety is just spiraling rampant in my heart.

Anxiety does not control me all day every day. It just comes in moments. But the moments are powerful and overwhelming.

I feel a ton of guilt during anxiety too.

Guilt for not trusting God enough to take care of me. I fear that this anxiety is an indicator of a weak relationship with God. And to some degree I believe that is true.

Its amazing how my world can go to 2 opposite extremes in a matter of minutes. One minute I can tell you how good and faithful and provisional my God is. But the minute anxiety hits, I forget that. I would never tell you that God was bad in anxious moments, but I might tell you that He isn't enough.
Then once the panic attack subsides I am left embarrassed at my behavior and my subconcious thoughts toward the God that I love.

I'm not quite sure why I am writing this post or where I want to go with it even. Its actually 12:45 am and I cannot sleep. I believe this all started with me reading an article online about the lost Malaysia flight a few hours ago and who knows what happened in my brain after that. Dumb...I know. Its almost humorous sometimes.

I guess I can say that one thing good that comes from being aware of my anxiety is that it reminds me how very weak I am and how very much I need him. Its ironic that the very thing that makes me feel like God is not enough is also the very thing that anchors me to Him. And my sweet husband gives me a clear picture on a smaller scale of how my God responds to me in anxiety. He holds my hand and lets me cry and reminds me that I am still alive...but only in Him.